By Oliver Lees
The Dulap Wilim Hub at Sunbury Heights Primary School is now host to a rare program teaching languages from the Indian subcontinent.
Commencing in 2019 with the support of Sunbury Heights Primary School principal Kay Mills, support worker Seathu Warrior decided to volunteer her evenings to teach Hindi language to a handful of children at the school.
Before long, Ms Warrior was approached by parents to expand the program to include Punjabi language and now Ms Warrior facilitates two classes with a total of 30 children.
Originally from the southern Indian state of Kerala, Ms Warrior moved to Australia 10 years ago having worked as a teacher in India.
She said she wanted to create a space for people from Sunbury to be able to get together and connect with Indian culture. m“In the Indian community in Sunbury the parents are always working, they come home in the evening and there’s no one, so we are trying to create something for them,” Ms Warrior said.
“Some students can now communicate with their grandparents for the first time.
“The mums can now talk with each other as well because the classes have created a community… I try to cheer them up.”
Across Australia, the number of Hindi language courses available to students from primary to university schooling has dwindled, despite the consistent growth of the Indian community in Australia.
According to the 2016 Census, Hindi was among the fastest growing languages in the country and it is the fourth most-spoken language in the world with over 500 million speakers.
Despite that, currently there are just two Hindi language courses in primary schools across Victoria.
Ms Warrior said she encourages everybody to get involved.
“We want to be inclusive and bring both the Indian and Australian communities together.”